Tips on Tatting Techniques
Opening a Closed Ring

  • Direction Set #1
    (Normal Ring) Find a picot, and slide the double stitches apart under the picot. Insert some sort of long thin object to hand eg crochet hook between picot and carrier thread. Hold the finishing end of the ring between thumb and forefinger so the knot can't flip onto the carrier thread. Now pull the carrier thread to slide some free thread up (three hands helps here). You'll need to do this a little bit at a time, and often it's necessary to flip the last stitch or two back to the way they should be. If there's another picot in your ring, slide any slack thread you've pulled through under the one nearest the beginning. Eventually you'll gain enough thread to start opening the ring. (My personal success limit is I can do this down to Cebelia 40, but not with smaller thread, nor matte threads.)

    Split ring - Much easier! Take blunt tapestry needle (or pin, but something without a sharp point is better), and insert in the last stitch worked without flipping the knot. Just loosen the first half of the stitch till the shuttle can pass back through the loop. Second half is a bit harder, as the thread comes out of the opposite side of the ring to the knotting, just twizzle the shaping round the carrier thread a bit. Keep undoing the unflipped stitches till there's enough space to start opening the ring a little. (Tip courtesy of Steph P.)

  • Direction Set #2
    Somehow, you need to hold onto the thread that runs freely through the ring. If you HAVE a picot, it's all very nice - you can part the stitches, find the thread and insert a crochet hook. If your ring has 4 picots or less, you will probably have to open the ring at every picot, or at 3 o'clock, 12 o'clock and 9 o'clock if you have no picots. (you start at the 3 o'clock picot if you're looking at the ring and the working thread is coming out to your right).

    If your ring has more than 4 picots, you will probably find you can skip every second picot.

    At this point my technique differs from the others I've read. I do not use the hook to pull on the thread. Instead, I push the crochet hook well down into the stitch, so that the pressure of the increasing width of the crochet hook itself starts to pull the free thread back through the stitches. Then I place my thumb firmly on the free thread, holding it onto the crochet hook, and use the crochet hook to help me pull the thread backwards through the ring. Since I started using the hook that way, I find it much, much easier to open rings - I can open rings in the size 80 tatting cotton easily (I've never tatted with anything finer).

    Now, if you DON'T have a picot, you can try this technique anyway. As long as you can get your crochet hook in between the stitches it will work. If you have a problem with this, you can go on to Plan B: thread a blunt needle (cross-stitch needle) and run the needle between the stitches. Then take hold of both ends of the thread you've just inserted, and pull towards the centre of the ring. That will open up a little space and you can insert your hook as above.

    Note the "hook" part of the crochet hook is not important here - you could also use a darning needle, a fine knitting needle, a sewing awl, whatever. The important thing is that it should grow wider and be long enough for you to get hold of firmly for the pulling. (Tip courtesy of Adele.)

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